A song in honor of San Francisco or a funerary song for Sebastian Ramirez de Fuenleal? An interpretation of the so called Pipilcuicatl, “The Children’s Song”, registered in the manuscript of Cantares mexicanos
The article presents a critical interpretation of one of the songs collected in the 16th-century manuscript known as Cantares mexicanos. “The Children’s Song”, in Nahuatl Pipilcuicatl, is one of the few pieces of this manuscript provided with clear information on the context of its performance, which apparently should facilitate its correct interpretation. However, as the present analysis shows, the song in question is in fact a result of various reelaborations of the more ancient models. It is an overlap of diff erent semantic levels corresponding to diverse ideologies, objectives, events and socio-politic contexts, such as: the ancient indigenous rituals, funerary celebrations, Medieval and Renaissance Christian popular beliefs and aesthetics, as well as the contemporary Colonial aesthetics of the New Spain. The objective of this article is to indicate the possible meanings that might have been attributed to diff erent elements of this song by the Spaniards and the indigenous participants of the celebration.